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Manifesto

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General Perceptions of RTD

  • Agency does a herculean task every day.
  • Most RTD employees are good people and do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
  • Messaging from RTD is often downbeat and inspires little confidence that the agency wants to be a major player in solving the region’s transportation problems.
  • Public perception, as evidenced by fall rider surveys and social media reaction, is poor.
  • RTD’s continued existence in its current form is regularly questioned by lawmakers and those who make transportation policy.
  • Agency needs to come out “swinging for transit” more often. Why should we give you more funding?

Safety

  • Support an open and transparent safety culture.
  • Safety dashboard that details all PUC reportable incidents to be included in board briefing packets.
  • Safety recommendations should not be rejected due to perceived high cost.
  • Does RTD share information on safety incidents with peer transit agencies that operate similar types of equipment?
  • Support a ”Vision Zero” plan for fatalities on the RTD network.

People Power

  • Agency needs to accept that in the last 10 years, the labor market has changed out of all recognition due to innovations such as working from home and gig work.
  • Operators need to be given the basic working conditions that RTD senior staff enjoy – access to bathrooms, 30 min meal breaks, flexibility to change working hours.
  • Healthcare and 401k offerings need to be reviewed. Do operators get the same deal as senior staff?
  • Scheduling system needs to be overhauled and made more flexible, using new technology (e.g. the ability for operators to trade shifts online).
  • Part time labor market needs to be utilized.
  • Support whistleblower protections for employees.
  • “The floor” or minimum legal requirements are no longer good enough and the labor market has already delivered its negative verdict on this.
  • Surprised that a comprehensive internal review of the hiring and retention issues has not been launched.

Equity

  • Poor transit service and rider experience disproportionately affects low-income and marginalized communities across the entire district, not just where the affected communities reside.
  • Need to start with “across the board” improvements, and then focus on any particular communities / groups that have special requirements.
  • Biggest thing we can do to help low-income groups is to make transit a viable enough alternative for them to feel they can reduce / eliminate car ownership.

Service Development

  • Service development division replies on Automatic Passenger Count (APC) data plus anecdotal observations from staff to devise service alterations.
  • Division is therefore good at evaluating changes to initial routes (e.g. frequency changes) but lacks the tools to comprehensively evaluate comprehensive replanning of service (e.g. GDT’s Downtown Bus Plan).
  • Bus service has not kept up with development in the Denver Metro area.
  • Despite running a public consultation process on service changes, very little evidence that the division actually listens to the public comments.
  • Public is asked to comment on and the Board is asked to approve proposed service changes without visibility of proposed schedules. This is due to an outdated policy that says scheduel runs must have had operators already bus on them before they can be released to the public.
  • Massive blunders are regularly made such as unattainable connections between W line at new route 17 at Oak Station.
  • The System Optimization Plan does little to help the region achieve its transportation or climate goals.
  • Service planning and change process needs a complete overhaul.

Asset Management

  • Introduce an / upgrade the asset management system so that the agency has full knowledge of its assets and can cost-effectively plan maintenance, renewals and upgrades.
  • Introduce a system where members of the public can report faults / issues.
  • No CAPs related to asset condition.

Capital Projects

  • RTD is unable to produce detailed information for each capital project it manages.
  • If RTD now longer wants to be in the business of delivering major capital projects (above $5m), a new state sponsored entity should be created to do this.
  • FasTracks debt and future FasTracks sales tax revenues should be transferred to this new entity.
  • New entity should be aggressive in pursuing federal / state funding for transit projects.

Rider Experience

  • Information provision is extremely poor and often inaccurate, with outdated maps and presentation.
  • Wayfinding needs a complete overhaul – new standards need to be developed.
  • Light rail and commuter rail passenger information systems are next to useless and need to be replaced.
  • Applaud the agency’s continuing commitment to making GTFS and GIS data freely available and letting others (e.g. Google, Transit App) do the work of presenting it clearly and effectively.
  • Decision not to include contactless payment in the new fare collection system is very short-sighted.
  • Buses and trains are not cleaned while in service.
  • Introduce a system where members of the public can report faults / issues with the system.
  • Transit Oriented Development policies need to be updated to be strict on reducing parking provision and providing commercial space which supports transit usage.
  • Consider creating a dedicated rider experience manager position.

Funding

  • Full support needed for “de-brucing” RTD FasTracks sales tax revenues.
  • Agency needs a plan to grow ridership and full fare revenue.
  • Need to get fare revenue covering at least 30% of operational costs.
  • Bolder and more comprehensive grant requests.
  • Partnerships with developers to raise the value of RTD owned property and increase rental income.
  • Exploit commercial opportunities at transit stations and facilities by assisting concessions to set up operations.